baner promujący konferencje

Vanguard Initiative Regional Conference

Vanguard Initiative Regional Conference.

Accelerate the process: Hydrogen as the new fuel of growth.

Kraków, Małopolska

Date: 7 czerwca 2022 r.

Hour: 13:30-17:30 CET

Conference venue: hybrid mode; we will welcome our guests in Kraków (Krakowski Park Technologiczny, Podole 60), but streaming option will be provided too

Moderating the conference: Anna Butrym

The main language of the conference is English.

We have a pleasure to present you a programme of the forthcoming VI Regional Conference. The theme of the event is related to hydrogen and hydrogen-based technologies, an important component of Sustainable Energy which is one of the seven smart specializations in the Małopolska Region.

Hydrogen has recently become a field of interest for European regions as a sustainable source of energy that will contribute to the decarbonisation agenda in multiple ways. Hydrogen sector is continuously growing and the value in collaborating on shared hydrogen issues is already recognized by many Vanguard Initiatives members. In addition, current regional and global challenges (i.e. a general increase in energy prices or the Russian aggression on Ukraine and its impact on energy sector) have forced regions to consider energy security and fuel shortages as well as energy poverty more seriously. Hydrogen technologies can be an answer for many of these maladies and hydrogen also represents a key element of the European Commission’s vision to achieve a clean, more affordable and secure energy system.

During our Conference we want to focus on the most advanced technologies, regional experiences and good practices which can accelerate the process of transformation within the sustainable energy area. We want to use this opportunity and discuss with experts and representatives of business on future challenges related to the development of hydrogen technologies. We aim at building cooperation chains between engaged parties and fostering networking. Together we can address the issues such as promoting hydrogen-based solutions across the European regions, consolidating business and science cooperation in the sector or recognizing existing barriers to the deployment of hydrogen technologies.

The registration is active until 07.06.2022, 10:00 CET.

Studio live


Anna Butrym

13.00 – 13.30

Coffe break

13.30 – 13.35

Opening the Conference


13.35 – 13.40

Opening speech

Józef Gawron – Deputy Marshal of the Małopolska Region

13.40 – 13.45

The Vanguard Initiative: A place-based European network leading by example to boost regional innovation ecosystems

Farha Brahmi – Vanguard Initative Network Manager

13.45 – 14.00

The role region in the clean hydrogen transition from a local to a global perspective

Luca Polizzi – Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission

14.00 – 14.15


Piotr Kropiński – Head of Hydrogen Economy and Innovation Unit at Electromobility and Hydrogen Economy Department – Ministry of Climate and Environment

14.15 – 14.30

Polish Cluster of Composite Technologies – composites innovations in hydrogen

Andrzej Czulak – PhD, Leader of Polish Cluster of Composite Technologies

14.30 – 14.45

Hydrogen Strategy in the ORLEN Group’s

Grzegorz Jóźwiak – Director, Alternative Fuels Department, PKN Orlen S.A.

14.45 – 15.00

Automotive hydrogen as an element of transformation of ORLEN Południe into a biorefinery

Grzegorz Semerjak – Technology and Development Director, Orlen Południe S.A.

15.00 – 15.15

Coffe break


15.15 – 15.30

Saxon Competence of Hydrogen Technology

Jan Filip – Projektmanager Export Promotion / Cooperation, Saxony Trade & Invest

15.30 – 15.45

Research on hydrogen-powered vehicles at the ILK within the hydrogen strategy of the TU Dresden

Maik Gude, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. – Chair of Lightweight Design and Structural Assessment at Technische Universität Dresden

15.45 – 15.55

GRUPA AZOTY – main player in lowering the carbon footprint of ammonia and fertilizers

Filip Grzegorczyk, PhD – Vice President of the Management Board President, Grupa Azoty S.A.

15.55 – 16.05

Hydrogen applications: Lombardy experience

Sergio Torriani – Managing director, Simplifhy SB s.r.l. and delegate for LE2C Cluster

16.05 – 16.15

Slovenia on its way to Hydrogen future

Anamarija Borštnik Bračič – PhD; Head of Energy Division, GP sistemi

16.15 – 16.25

Innovation and International Collaboration in the Scottish Hydrogen Sector

Irina Bonavino – Hydrogen Specialist at Scottish Enterprise’s Low Carbon Transition

Steve Taylor – Trade Specialist Energy and Low Carbon Transition, Berlin Scottish Development International

16.25 – 16.35

Next generation hydrogen high storage solutions for FCEV

Erich Fries – Director of Global Business Development, HRC Germany Gmbh

16.35 – 16.45

VUCA world, climate change and new megatrend Glocalisation: How does this effect the European collaboration on CFRP hydrogen pressure vessels?

Raimund Grothaus – CEO, EAST-4D® Carbon Technology GmbH

16.45 – 17.00

From Monomer to Component – Sustainable Lightweight Technologies for the Energy

Holger Seidlitz, Prof. – BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg

17.00 – 17.05

Innovative, double-sided fuel cell technology. SOFC solution of the future

Daniel Chade – PhD, Test and Validation Lead at HydrogenTech R&D

17.05 – 17.30

Discussion and Q&A


foto Józef Gawron

Józef Gawron

He is the Deputy Marshal of the Małopolska Region and the councilor to the Małopolska Region Parliament from the Tarnów district. Józef Gawron is a graduate of the Cracow University of Technology, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with the specialization in Machine Technology. He also completed post-graduate studies in IT, post-graduate studies in economics, specializing in Entrepreneurship and post-graduate studies in Healthcare Manager. Between 2015 and 2018 he held the position of the Vice-Voivode of the Małopolska Region. For his activities for the local community, he was awarded the Silver Cross of Merit by the President of Poland.

foto Farha Brahmi

Farha Brahmi

She has been working as Network Manager at the Vanguard Initiative (VI) since 2019. She previously worked at ERRIN where she gained first-hand practical experience on how to strengthen relationships between stakeholders from industry, academia, government and society at both local and EU level to boost economic transformation through innovation programmes. She also worked for Northern Ireland’s Development Agency; in charge of setting up its first EU R&I Liaison Service in Brussels, and increasing the region’s participation in key EU innovation programmes to boost the region’s industrial transformation, she has solid expertise in regional innovation stakeholder engagement in a European context.

As VI Network Manager, Farha coordinates the activities of 39 Vanguard Initiative Member regions in the context of their collaboration in 7 pilot projects, developed through the active participation of clusters, science parks, research institutes and universities in the member regions. By bringing regions and their stakeholders together, the Pilot Projects aim to accelerate market uptake of innovations in 7 thematic areas, pioneering a new approach to support EU industry internationalisation and competitiveness 

foto Luca Polizzi

Luca Polizzi

He is Policy Officer at the European Commission DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD), and he is covering hydrogen research and innovation policy. Between 2019 and 2021, he served as Diplomatic Attaché for Research and Innovation in Middle East. Previously, he was Policy Officer for Africa, the Gulf and Neighbourhood in DG RTD. In 2017/18, he was Policy Assistant to the Director of industrial technologies in the same DG after serving in the Unit of Nanotechnologies and Advanced Materials. Before joining the Commission in 2016, he worked at KAUST in Saudi Arabia dealing with research policy and programming in the area of energy, materials, and water. Between 2006 and 2014, he was Senior Research Policy and Funding Executive in the EU Office of Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government Agency for innovation. Lecturer and guest speaker on EU policies in several organisations including the College of Europe, Universita’ Cattolica di Milano, European Institute of Public Administration, University of Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Visiting professor in 2015 at the University of Sassari, and between 2004 and 2006 Professor in EU Law at University Marconi in Rome. Graduated from “La Sapienza”, earned his MA at KU Leuven and currently completing a PhD at VUB in science diplomacy. He is married and has three children

foto Piotr Kropiński

Piotr Kropiński

Head of Hydrogen Economy and Innovation Unit at Electromobility and Hydrogen Economy Department – Ministry of Climate and Environment, legal counsel with business background, nominated civil servant, member of the Self-Government Board of Appeals in Warsaw. Responsible for implementation of the Polish Hydrogen Strategy, currently focusing on drafting legal framework and designing public aid schemes for hydrogen market.

foto Andrzej Czulak

Andrzej Czulak

PhD, currently Leader of the Polish Cluster of Composite Technology, has over 20 years of experience in the composite technology industry. He focused on designing manufacturing technologies of structures for hydrogen transport and storage as a researcher at the Technische Universität Dresden, Institute fur Leichtbau und Kunststofftechnik, and as a managing director in Polish and German companies in the composite materials industry. Founder and President in 2016 of the Polish Cluster of Composite Technologies (Polski Klaster Technologii Kompozytowych), which brings together 100 companies and institutions, and which was awarded the status of National Key Cluster in 2021. Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Committee on Materials Engineering and Metallurgy and the Malopolska Innovation Council.

foto Grzegorz Jóźwiak

Grzegorz Jóźwiak

Grzegorz joined PKN ORLEN in 2004, and he is currently a Director of Alternative Fuels Department. He has deep and broad experience in the oil, gas and energy production processes from an operational and optimization point of view. Grzegorz has a big experience with refinery and petrochemical integration, synergy identification between sites. Able to manage refinery and petrochemical processes with focus on margin maximization. Experienced in implementation of change and plant troubleshooting. Author of many improvement projects maximizing margin by hardware solution as well as digitalization of assets. Co-author of the Hydrogen Eagle project, one of the biggest hydrogen infrastructure project in Central Europe. Currently responsible for its implementation. He coordinates the carbon neutrality direction based on circular economy and hydrogen value chain implementation.

foto Grzegorz Semerjak

Grzegorz Semerjak

Graduate of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology of the Cracow University of Technology at which in 2006 he was awarded the title of Master of Engineering of Chemical Technology with specialisation in oil and gas technology. In 2009, he completed post-graduate studies in the field of waste and hazardous substances management and in 2014 – in the field of project management.

In 2019, he completed MBA studies at the Higher Banking School in Chorzów. In 2021, he finished Executive MBA studies at the Warsaw University of Technology Business School.

Currently, he is the Director of Technology & Development at ORLEN Południe S.A. and a Member of the Supervisory Boards of Konsorcjum Olejów Przepracowanych – Organizacja Odzysku Opakowań i Olejów S.A. in Jedlicz (Spent Oil Consortium – Organisation for Package and Oil Recovery) and biogas plants being part of ORLEN Południe Capital Group. Since 2022, he is also a member of the Audit Committee of the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry (PIPC) and a member of the Management Board of the Silesian and Lesser Poland Hydrogen Valley (ŚMDW).

foto Jan Filip

Jan Filip

He is representing the hydrogen focus team of Saxony Trade & Invest, where he is working as a Project Manager for Export Promotion and Cooperation. Saxony Trade & Invest (WFS) is a state-owned enterprise of the Federal State of Saxony and is active in three key fields. WFS promotes Saxony as a business location and advises potential investors comprehensively from the initial idea all the way to the implementation of their relocation projects. WFS assists Saxony’s companies in achieving their export goals and initiates cooperations with companies located outside of Saxony. An important foundation for the effective work of the WFS is its strategic orientation towards Saxony’s key industrial branches. Identifying the relevant technological trends early on and integrating them into its locational and sales promotion measures represent a field of competence which the WFS has been focusing on for several years now.

foto Maik Gude

Maik Gude

Since 2014, Prof. Maik Gude holds the Chair of Lightweight Design and Structural Assessment, and in this role is a member of the management board of the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology of the Technische Universität Dresden.

He also leads the following scientific entities:

  • Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) Dresden “Lightweight Structures and Materials and Robust Design“ since 2016,
  • Field of competence „Lightweight Design/Exterior” of the Automotive Cluster Ostdeutschland (ACOD) since 2015,
  • BMBF Research and Technology Centre for Resource-Efficient Lightweight Structures for the E-Mobility (FOREL) since 2013,
  • Research Complex “European Centre for Emerging Materials and Processes (ECEMP)” within the Saxony Excellence Initiative and of the associated International Graduate School (IGS) since 2009.

Furthermore, Prof. Maik Gude is a member of the following scientific associations: Scientific Alliance of the University Professors of Plastics Technology (WAK), Materials Research Network Dresden (MFD).

foto Filip Grzegorczyk

Filip Grzegorczyk

He is Vice President of the Management Board of Grupa Azoty S.A. A manager with many years’ experience as a management board member and director at large companies. He has gained his professional experience at industrial companies and parent companies of holding structures in the energy, fuels and public sectors. 

foto Sergio Torriani

Sergio Torriani

He is hydrogen enthusiast for reasonable application and President of the board of Simplifhy SB Srl, first Italian hydrogen solution provider. He has a 25 years experiance in process industry, in automation, IOT, instrumentation. His key roles and experience has been shaped in companiec: GE, Emerson, Schneider, Flowserve, Krohne. He is fully devoted on decarbonizing world through the use of Hydrogen. 

foto Anamarija Borštnik Bračič

Anamarija Borštnik Bračič

She is the founder and head of Energy Division at GP sistemi, is a physicist. Until 2012 she was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Ljubljana. At GP sistemi she works as a business developer in the fields of green hydrogen and generation of electricity and heat from renewable and sustainable fuels. Her group offers the design, manufacture and commissioning of combined heat and power plants that generate electricity and heat from renewable and sustainable fuels such as wood residues, wood waste, sludge and hazardous waste. Combined heat and power plants are built in countries of the European Union and in the Balkans.

foto Irina Bonavino

Irina Bonavino

She is a Hydrogen Specialist at Scottish Enterprise’s Low Carbon Transition team. Based in Aberdeen, she supports the development of the hydrogen economy in Scotland. Her focus is helping Scottish companies to access international funding, networks and innovation programmes related to hydrogen.

Irina is a certified project manager with experience in change programmes and public policy in local government. In her prior role in the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce’s policy team, Irina represented the views of organisations of all sizes and sectors to government, on topics such as the energy transition and international trade. As a volunteer of the Energy Institute for the past 7 years, she has organised learning and networking events for young professionals in Aberdeen’s energy industry.


foto Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor

He is Scottish Development International’s Trade Representative for the German market, specialising in Renewable Energy and the Low Carbon Transition. Based in Berlin, he is responsible for advising Scottish organisations on the German energy, hydrogen and low carbon scene, and for helping introduce Scottish innovations to the German market.

Steve has, for many years, had the reputation of being one of Scotland’s leading sustainability and low carbon practitioners, winning the accolade of Glasgow’s inaugural Green Champion and the Chamber of Commerce’s Sustainable Development award. He has provided sustainability advice to companies, organisations and events in countries as diverse as Malawi, Hong Kong, the Faroe Islands, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy and Zambia, helping reduce CO2 emissions, develop innovative new climate focused actions and preparing plans covering renewable energy, waste and recycling, circular economy and resource efficiency.

From this diverse background he has most recently been focusing on renewable energy and the potential for Scotland to develop a thriving Green Hydrogen sector. Working with Scottish companies, especially those involved in Scotwind and INTOG, he is helping create linkages that could see Scottish Green Hydrogen decarbonise the German energy and industry sectors in the near future.

foto Erich Fries

Erich Fries

He works a HRC Group as Director of Global Business Development to coordinate the global activities with development Partners and customers.

foto Raimund Grothaus

Raimund Grothaus

He holds a degree in mechanical engineering after studies at the universities of Clausthal/D, Aachen/D, Carbondale/US, and London/UK. After a research assistant position at the TU Dresden he started EAST-4D as a spin-off company working on design and  production of composite structures. Scientific composite topics have been assessed for the German Ministry of Research (BMBF) and as an assessor of composite rotor failures. Mr. Grothaus holds more than 10 patents in the fields of composite structures and related manufacturing processes. These inventions are flying in more than 3000 EAST-4D products of Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream aircraft programmes. Mr. Grothaus has three children and loves windsurfing in his private life, which was the initiation of all of his composite activities.

foto Holgar Seidlitz

Holgar Seidlitz

Prof., he is director of the research division Polymeric Materials and Composites PYCO of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Wildau near Berlin. He also holds the chair of Polymer-based Lightweight Design at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. He has been studying mechanical engineering at both Lausitz University of Technology Senftenberg and Chemnitz University of Technology where he made his doctorate degree in 2013.

foto Daniela Chade

Daniel Chade

PhD, engineer / scientist professional with 12 years experience on hydrogen and fuel research and development activities. His scientific interests focus mostly on solid oxide fuel cell technology and general aspects of hydrogen/fuel cell technology commercialization. During his career he worked for industrial companies Elcogen Oy (Finland), PGE S.A. and academia University of Strathclyde (UK), University of Southampton (UK), Smith College (US). In 2020 he joined HydrogenTech Sp. z o.o. where he holds a position of Test and Validation Lead

foto Anna Butrym

Anna Butrym

Experienced TV presenter and host for variety of events held in Polish, English or Hungarian, moderator of panel discussions. Represented numerous prominent companies and institutions in Poland and abroad in multiple prestigious projects, worked for national TV in Poland. Educated as a musician, hungarologist and translator, certified AML/CTF expert, pursued career also as a videoblogger, voice actor and public speaking training specialist. Detailed portfolio available at

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